Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 Geekies: The Office, Most Underrated Show

Anybody who bailed on NBC’s The Office last season because it wasn’t as good as the BBC series upon which it was based did so with good reason. It wasn’t particularly original. Or funny, even. Coupling redux, thought I, as the American cast farfled its way through the script from the British pilot, with the actors missing the subtlety and precise delivery of their cross-the-pond counterparts.

But those who tuned out missed one of the more stunning turnarounds in recent television history: The Office is funny. Very funny. In fact, it's laugh out loud funny, which is a rarity for broadcast sit-comedy these days.

While it started out, somewhat by necessity, as a dim imitation of the original, the show has developed a style and sensibility of its own. It has some of the most richly conceived characters on television, with snappy writing to match. Part Office Space, part NewsRadio, the gang at the fictional Dunder-Mifflin paper company have come into their own in season two, awkward pauses and all.

To those viewers who pink slipped The Office, I strongly recommend punching in for another go. You won’t regret it.

2005 Geekies: Lost, Most Overrated Show

Sure, I look forward to watching it as much as the next TV geek. Never miss it. Heck, I even hate letting it sit in the DVR for any longer than an hour or so.

But more and more, I'm wondering... why?

Of course, I'm talking about ABC's mega-hit Lost. Sure- it's gripping drama. It's also, without question, the most overrated show on TV.

Heresy, you say? For me, it's simple: a show this popular, with this much potential, shouldn’t seem like it’s making up crucial plot points on the fly every week. An underground bunker with a doomsday machine? A 55 minute wait to see a fat guy give away peanut butter? Six mysterious numbers that mean everything, yet nothing? Feh.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m hooked. Fascinated. Maybe even addicted. But it ain’t brilliant. Actually, it's becoming more clear every week that the creatives behind this show are a bit lost themselves. Focus, people! How about answering a few lingering questions before introducing new ones?

Sure, there are good episodes. Great ones, even. But I guess I just expect more.

In fact, with the ever declining quality of sister show Alias, one wonders exactly what the enigmatic J.J. Abrams is spending his time doing. Certainly, he’s not brainstorming where this show’s storyline is going- he seems content adding new strands rather than tying up loose ends.

And that's where Lost is losing me.